Gemma Brogan, in her late twenties, is married and the mother of a three-year-old son, Rory. She owns and runs her own estate agency in Chester, England. Life is pretty good, though she laments not having more time to spend with her son. The real estate business is not as successful as it once was due to a downturn in the economy – therefore she spends every spare minute at the office. She is the breadwinner of the family because Joe is a ‘house husband’ who stays at home to care for their young son.
Gemma met her husband Joe via her best friend Caitlin. Joe is Caitlin’s elder brother.
“The only people I wanted to talk to were the ones who mustn’t know what was going on.”
Because of this interpersonal dynamic, Gemma feels that she has no one to talk to once she realizes that she is being blackmailed… Instead she tells lie after lie – sinking herself into a situation that becomes untenable.
I had high expectations of this novel after reading Mary Torjussen’s “Gone Without A Trace” back in 2017. That book was a five star read for me and I anticipated another stellar story. Sadly, this novel did not live up to its predecessor in my humble opinion.
Although Gemma Brogan WAS the victim in the story, I just couldn’t warm to her. I found her to be self-centered, whingy, naive, and just a tad imprudent. Her behavior, and the behavior of some of the other characters just didn’t seem plausible.
I quite liked the Chester setting.
The story did have enough plot twists to please the thriller lovers who appreciate them. I personally just thought that they were ever so slightly ‘over the top’. Also, oftentimes, I found that the character’s reactions to events in the plot were just not believable. The internal dialogue of the protagonist was repetitive and I longed for her to ‘grow a pair‘.
In short, I would recommend this thriller with some reservations. The reader should be able to suspend belief and not take the logic of the story too seriously. This is a novel of secrets, lies, betrayals and revenge.
The ending was neatly tied up – but again, I found it to be implausible. I realize I am in the minority when it comes to my opinions of this book, so I urge you to read it and make your own decisions.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Berkley/Penguin Random House via Edelweiss.
Mary Torjussen has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and worked for several years as a teacher before becoming a full-time writer.
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